Visitors get first glimpse of stunning new art installation

More than 200 guests packed into The World of Glass on Thursday (January 25th) for the launch of Where Things Are Different.

The evening, included live entertainment from Theremin player Lydia Kavina, Eggs Collective and speeches.

Guests then headed outdoor to see the work after hearing the stories behind the public art installation. Artist and photographer Stephen King thanked the participants for their stories and being part of the incredible images that are now situated on the bank of The Sankey Canal.

The six lightboxes can be seen until April 22nd, behind The World of Glass Museum, they are lit from 3-9pm each day.

Patrick Fox, Director of Heart of Glass, said: “We are delighted with the response to the work so far, we’ve had lots of positive feedback and comments. The launch night felt like a really special start to the year, and we’d like to thank those that came out for their support. We are excited to develop this year with our partners, artists and communities, and celebrate St Helens past, present and future.

Your guide to the big launch in St Helens


This Thursday (January 25th) sees the launch of Where Things Are Different at The World of Glass.

We are delighted to see more than 200 tickets have already been snapped up, here is a quick guide to the evening:

The event starts at 5.30pm, food and drink is provided, although will be limited. Don’t panic if you are running late or can’t make the start time, we will of course still see you at the welcome desk when you arrive.

The World of Glass has limited free on-site parking for visitors but in the event that this is full, there is a multi-storey car park (Chalon Way) immediately next to the Centre with very reasonable charges (please note this closes promptly at 7pm).

There will be entertainment and brief speeches throughout before the unveiling of the lightboxes. Please consider wearing footwear suitable to be both indoors and outdoors.

Eggs Collective will interact ad-hoc with guests, theremin player Lydia Kavina will perform, as well as Haydock Brass Band. There will also be speeches about the project and #StHelens150.

For this event, the speeches at 6pm will be British Sign Language interpreted. Please ask a member of staff for more information. If you need any assistance accessing the artworks outside, or with the lift, please inform a member of staff at the front desk.

The World of Glass has been designed to include everyone and has wheelchair access to all galleries, lifts to all floors, low-mounted video displays and adapted toilet facilities.

Trains run regularly from Liverpool Lime Street and Wigan North Western into St Helens Central Railway Station – just 5 minute’s walk from The World of Glass.

For detailed public transport information call Traveline on 0871 200 22 33 or log on to

Postcode for SatNav: WA10 1BX

International Theremin performer heads to St Helens



People in St Helens will get the chance to see a world class performer showcase her skills on a truly unique musical instrument – as Lydia Kavina plucks notes from thin air.

The launch event of Where Things Are Different at The World of Glass on Thursday, January 25th, includes a unique performance on the Theremin.

Kavina plays the instrument and also composes work. The Theremin is an electronic musical instrument invented in the 1920s by Russian musician and engineer Leon Theremin. It is controlled without physical contact the performer.

The instruments controlling section usually consists of two metal antennas that sense the relative position of the player’s hands and control oscillators for frequency with one hand and amplitude with the other. The electric signals from the Theremin are amplified and sent to a loudspeaker.

Kavina, who was born in Moscow and currently lives in Oxfordshire, plays the instrument and also composes work.

Tickets for the launch are available online now

Where Things Are Different – “It’s been great, hilarious, disturbing, sad and uplifting.”

A new public art installation opens in St Helens later this month (January).

Where Things Are Different is a project that attempts to place equal credence between the logic of fiction and the logic of fact within the context of community.

Photographer Stephen King has met and worked closely with members and groups of St Helens post-industrial communities to unearth the shared experience that resides within these displaced workforces.

King attempts to illustrate overlapping anecdotal fragments from close-knit St Helens communities and the tall-tales that emanate from the shop-floor. Focusing upon the experiences that aren’t documented in the form of books or curated in museums, but ones that only exist upon the lips of the people.

The project’s launch is at the World of Glass on Thursday, January 25 5.30pm to 7.30pm. Tickets are available here

We spoke to Stephen about the project and how a nice cup of tea and a sit down has led to some magical story telling and a set of unique images.

Where did the idea behind the project come from?

It came about quite naturally really, I wanted to undertake a collaborative project in St Helens and obviously there are many issues that I could look at in the borough, but the more I thought about what was the one thing that draws together differing communities. That was the towns workforces

How have you enjoyed meeting people and hearing their tales?

It’s been great, it’s been hilarious, it’s been disturbing, it’s been sad and it’s been uplifting.

The groups and individuals I have met and chatted with have just been so open and supportive of the project and have shared everything from workplace banter to sensitive family experiences. There was a lot of tea and biscuits put away!

I’ve had great support throughout the project from people just giving me a little time to talk, to people donating props. People have been coming back time after time to help with the shoots and taking part in performing in some of the representations.

How does the process work, from meeting people for the first time to the final artwork?

The whole bedrock of the process is the initial chat. Generally, in groups of 5-10 we sit around drinking tea and begin a conversation.

From there it usually just runs by itself and the stories and memories begin to get fired around. The conversations are recorded and then transcribed into a text. In this form, it’s quite simple to get a birds-eye-view of reoccurring themes and issues to focus upon.

It was always the idea that the text can be edited into a collection of anecdotes that the participants could have at a later date.

Is the work based on historical fact?

I’m sure that some are historically factual, but I’m also sure that the foundations of some are built on sand.

That is the nature of an anecdote, its usually passed on. These tales from the shop-floor, or of childhood are generally remembered and retold through a filter dependant on where or who its being told to.

The fact that a story is being told and shared is enough for me, it has already created a new space of its own.

How will the work be presented to the public?

The photographs will be large scale lightboxes situated behind The World of Glass Museum, they will be lit 3-9pm each day until April 22nd.

It was important that we secured this location, it’s historical and industrial relevance. It is a location steeped in folklore in the form of tropical fish!

Who will the work be for?

The work is for everyone who has any connection in any way to St Helens or anyone who enjoys storytelling, the images are not direct depictions of events or happenings but hopefully just constructed spaces where you can reflect and maybe expand upon threads of fact and fiction and it doesn’t matter.

Grants for The Arts Clinic

A Grants for The Arts Funding Clinic takes place in St Helens on Wednesday, July 5th.

This session is ideal for artists, creatives, producers, and organisations in the borough.

Grants for the Arts is Arts Council England’s open access funding programme for individuals, art organisations and other people who use the arts in their work. They offer awards from £1000 to £100,000 to support a wide variety of arts-related activities, from dance to visual arts, literature to theatre, music to combined arts.

We will be joined Anna Hassan (Relationship Manager – Engagement & Audience) and Angela Chappell (Relationship Manager – Combined Arts), who will provide information about the scheme and how to apply, offering valuable advice and answering any questions you might have. Information about one-to-one surgery sessions will follow soon.

Click here to book

Second conference focuses on key topics

More than 100 people came to St Helens in May for second With For About conference held by Heart of Glass and AxisWeb.

The conference, titled With For About: Art, Activism & Community, took place at Friends Meeting House 16 invited speakers leading the discussion.

The audience joined them to explore three conversations on the fierce and urgent questions facing collaborative and social art today. Beyond the Rhetoric, On Collaboration and Solidarity and Action were all topics for the day with guests travelling from across Europe to attend.

Patrick Fox, Director of Heart of Glass, explained: “Using a series of statements as provocations by leading thinkers in the field, we explored collaboration, language and our role as artists, producers and commissioners in an ever-changing socio-political landscape.”

“Our programme is rooted in collaborative and social practice and embodies the principle of partnership. Our core value, philosophy and approach is founded on co-production with the community and the active participation of the collaborator, non-artist, audience and viewer, in the creation of great art. People both individually and within communities of place or interest, are central to both our thinking and our practice.”

“We partnered with Chrissie Tiller, idle women and Axisweb to produce the even and feel moments like this are an important part of our ongoing work, creating a space for debate and reflection, a critical space in which to examine our work, and the work of others internationally with a view to professionally developing our practice.”

Roaming singing performances hit all the right notes

More than 150 people stepped into song on George Street in St Helens over the weekend to watch a promenade performance by a group of untrained male singers from St Helens.

Composer Verity Standen created the new roaming, choral experience specifically for St Helens, due to the historic significance the town has with conscientious objection.

St Helens was the home of school teacher, Ernest Everett who was arrested due to his refusal to undertake combative service in 1916.

He was court-martialed and sentenced to two years’ hard labour, the first conscientious objector to receive such a sentence. Over the next few years, he was sentenced seven more times.

In Refrain, Everett’s story, symbolic of many more cases of this kind, was given voice once again by local men.

The participants, who were recruited through taster sessions, led audiences on four shows over the weekend (May 20th & 21st) from The Masonic Hall along George Street to The Friends Meeting House.

Olly Ford, a participant from St Helens, said: “It was quite surreal but very cool. Sometimes you’d be walking through town on the day to day and you’d see the streets. Then to actually be involved in a performance amongst these streets is really nice.”

Suzanne Dempsey Sawin, of Heart of Glass, said: “It was a pleasure to see the hard work and talent of the participants and Verity come to fruition over the weekend.

“I found the performances were very moving and the audience feedback has reflected this. The George Street Quarter came alive in a truly unique way, and it was great to work with two historic St Helens sites.”

Verity Standen is an award-winning artist, composer and choir leader, whose unique work with voices has surprised and enchanted audiences around the UK and internationally. From intimate concerts to immersive theatrical experiences, Verity’s work seeks to reimagine how audiences experience vocal music. Refrain is her most ambitious project to date.

Refrain is produced by Situations with Verity Standen Projects, in partnership with English Heritage, Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts and Heart of Glass, St. Helens. It is generously supported by Arts Council England, the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, The Space and Heritage Lottery Fund.

Photos by Wesley Storey courtesy of Situations.


2020 Vision launch event

Heart of Glass is delighted to announce the launch of 2020 Vision, a new project by Sophie Mahon in collaboration with young people from across St Helens.

Artist Sophie has been artist in residence for the last six months in St Helens, working with young people in Parr, Finger Post and Four Acre.

2020 Vision is a project exploring the future of our world through the perspective of young people in St Helens. The exhibition showcases a number of artworks relating to the past and present and explores the best and worst possible narratives for the future.

The project is a partnership between Heart of Glass and Helena Homes Make It Happen project, and supported through our participation in the Creative Europe funded Collaborative Arts Partnership programme (CAPP).

Over the course of six months Sophie developed workshops with St Helens Youth Service, Wild Card Amateur Boxing Club, St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School, St Augustine’s of Canterbury Catholic High School, The Sutton Academy, Free Runners Derbyshire Hill Family Centre, Parr Library, Chester Lane Library, Holy Trinity Church and 818 group; bringing together a group of young collaborators with whom she has developed the project.

Join us for the 2020 Vision Launch Event this Thursday May 4th 4pm – 6.30pm


St Mary’s Market (former CelebLook shop),

6 Brownlow Arcade (Church Street entrance), St Helens, WA10 1AG

Exhibition dates

Friday May 5th – Sunday May 21st

Opening times

Monday to Saturday – 11.30am – 5.30pm Sundays 12pm – 4pm


Heart of Glass is an agency for collaborative and social arts practice based in St Helens



Artist opportunity in St Helens


The Convivialist* Toolbox

Workshop for artists who work with or are interested in working with communities of place / interest

28th Feb 2017

10.30 – 17.00

Heart of Glass Workspace, Water Street, St Helens WA10 1PP

Led by Berlin based Artist Susanne Bosch



One day working on our convivialist* toolbox
With various artistic experiments and formats we will explore the nature of our interdependency and what every individual brings to the table. The day offers open space between workshop, practice, constructive dispute, action and re-action. Experts of the everyday – as all participants are – are invited to share their knowledge and questions. We start the day at an agreed time, but will leave the end open for formats to emerge from the process. If one idea manifests in reality afterwards, a convivialist contribution has been made. A reporting back of manifested ideas and a documentation is highly welcomed. We are interested in the consequences of the NOW for TOMORROW. The toolbox day offers an experimental format of approaching a human, societal or globally urgent topic.

convivialist* from the Latin ‘con-vivere’, to live together. The term is meant to point up the fact that the main task we face is that of working out a new philosophy and developing practical forms of peaceful interaction.

Susanne Bosch is an artist and independent researcher. She received a PhD “Learning for Civil Society Through Participatory Public Art” from the University of Ulster in Belfast in 2012. From 2007-2012, she developed and led the Art in Public MA at the University of Ulster in Belfast, together with artist Dan Shipsides. As an “interface activist”, Susanne practices internationally in public art projects asking questions about long-term issues, and building creative arguments around the ideas of democracy and sustainable futures. Her art often involves the issues of money such as the Restpfennigaktion (Left-over Penny Campaign), Germany, 1998-2002, Initizativa Centesimo Avanzato, PAN, Naples, Italy, 2008-2009 and Hucha de Deseos, Madrid Abierto, 2010-2011; migration- examples are the video My European Family 2012, Athens and Kassel, Germany, The Prehistory of Crisis II, Belfast and Dublin, 2009 and societal visions and participation models such as Cities Exhibition, Birzeit University Museum, Palestine 2012-13, Das Gute Leben, Glücklich kommt von Selbermachen,Bregenz, Austria 2014, Dies ist Morgen, Kunsthalle Osnabrück, Germany 2015, Utopisten und Weltenbauer, Dortmund, Germany 2015, Das Mögliche im Sein, Götzis, Austria, 2015. Susanne develops site- and situation-specific interventions, installations, videos, drawings, and audio as well as dialogical formats. In her artistic research, as editor fo publications and as facilitator, she works with formats such as writing and workshops. She is trained in Open Space and Art of Hosting facilitation (2008, 2014), as well as conflict transformation (2004) and systemic constellation work (2014). Susanne has been working internationally and is currently the independent research fellow in the Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme (CAPP), a European partner network of six countries from 2015-2018.

Tickets: £10 per person

Book Now

Limited free places are available to artists in the following Creative People & Places areas: St Helens, Dewsbury, Blackpool and Burnley as of The Faculty, a joint initiative by four Creative People and Places funded projects based in the North of England.  The Faculty was born out of a recognition of the limited professional development opportunities available to artists and creative practitioners within the identified geographic areas, but also within the context of social arts practice more broadly.

Current Partners:

  • Heart of Glass
  • Super Slow Way
  • Creative Scene
  • LeftCoast

The Invisible City – unique cinema event this November


Heart of Glass is excited to announce The Invisible City, a unique cinematic event coming to St Helens this Autumn.

On Saturday, November 12th we will present an site specific cinema event, in collaboration with Abandon Normal Devices (AND) and Alexandra Park (St Helens) Management Limited, the former Pilkington Glass headquarters.

Featuring the granddaddy of surveillance films Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window and the world premiere of a new short film by artist Liam Young, this cinematic event will use the historical home of glass to explore contemporary responses to technology and transparency.

The main event will consist of a film programme, with a choice of viewing options including ‘drive-in’ and ‘viewing gallery’; and quasi-fictional tours of the Pilkington HQ, which will flatten distinctions between famous and forgotten, public and private spaces in the building. The glass fronted office complex will be the backdrop to ask questions related to transparency and invisibility in our society today.


In the days leading up to the main event there will be the opportunity to attend a choice of three themed film screenings in the former Pilkington Glass Board Room for a small audience, featuring landmark counter-surveillance films The Conversation, and Red Road with more titles to be announced.

Patrick Fox, Director of Heart of Glass, said: “The event will be a unique opportunity to see the former Pilkington site from a different perspective, including the chance to take a tour that includes areas never before seen by the public. We have a fantastic programme of work on offer, and we’re excited to animate this iconic site in a new and exciting way”

Gabrielle Jenks, Director of Abandon Normal Devices, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Heart of Glass in St Helens. We’ve been collaborating closely with the partners and artists over the last year, with the aim of creating a project that will engage audiences in the landscape that surrounds them. In November, we transform Alexandra Park into a home for sonic and cinematic espionage for a night of surveillance cinema.”




Film Programme
Doors open – 7pm
General Tickets – Full Price £6 / Concession Price £4
Drive-In Tickets £12 Per Car

Rear Window (Dir. Alfred Hitchcock / 1954 / cert. PG)

James Stewart and Grace Kelly star in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller, which explores the role of the voyeur. After breaking his leg during a shoot, photo-journalist L.B. ‘Jeff’ Jeffries (Stewart) is forced to spend a humid summer recuperating in his Greenwich Village apartment. Wheelchair-bound he spies on his neighbours from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder. Suspenseful, witty and at times funny, this is a film is as much about the audiences complicity as it is the protagonists.

Where the City Can’t See (Dir. Liam Young / 2016)

Commissioned by AND, directed by Liam Young and written by sci-fi author Tim Maughan, Where the City Can’t See is set in a not-too-distant future where Google maps, urban management systems and CCTV surveillance are not only mapping our cities, but ruling them. More info











Hacked Circuit (Dir. Deborah Strapman / 2014)

A single-shot, choreographed portrait of the Foley process, revealing multiple layers of fabrication and imposition. While portraying sound artists at work, typically invisible support mechanisms of filmmaking are exposed, as are, by extension and quotation, governmental violations of individual privacy.

The scene being foleyed is from The Conversation where Gene Hackman’s character Harry Caul tears apart his room – the look of Caul’s apartment mirrors the visual chaos of the Foley stage. This mirroring is also evident in the dual portraits of sonic espionage expert Caul and Foley artist Gregg Barbanell, for whom professionalism is marked by an invisibility of craft.

Hacked Circuit_web_only










Artist-led Tours

Tickets FREE, but booking is essential

During the day (November 12th) there will be a number of unique tours of the former Pilkington Glass HQ, led by artist Michelle Browne. Focussing on themes of transparency, invisibility and labour, they will look at the manufacturing of glass as a way to explore urban transformation, memory and labour.

Michelle Browne is an artist and curator based in Dublin, Ireland. She studied Sculpture at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin and is currently completing a Masters in Fine Art at the Dutch Art Institute in Arnhem, Holland. Much of her work is performance based and collaborative and she has performed and exhibited both nationally and internationally. Find out more at

How to Book

Bookings for all the film screenings – on 12 November and Board Room Screenings – and for the Artist Led Tours, can be done at Eventbrite.


Visit the Alexandra Park venue page for the address, location and directions.


The Invisible City is curated and produced by Heart of Glass and Abandon Normal Devices, in partnership with Alexandra Park (St Helens) Management Limited. This project is supported by Arts Council England and Film Hub North West Central, proud to be a member of the BFI Film Audience Network.